Monday, 18 March 2019

Two Boys with Rabbit

Photo-story from my visit to Calcutta this winter.

One afternoon I had some time to kill, in between meeting someone in the morning and lunch with friends. I was wandering around Ballygunge when I came across two boys playing frisbee in a back-street. As I walked by, the frisbee landed near me, and I threw it back.

A little later I walked back along the same road and passed them again. I waved in recognition, and the following conversation abruptly ensued.

older boy: তুমি ইংলিশ জানো? (Do you know English?)
me: হ্যাঁ। (Yes.)
older boy: ইংলিশে কিছু বলো? (Say something in English?)
me: What is your name?
older boy: T---
younger boy: P---
me: My name is Sroyon. Good afternoon.
younger boy: কি বললো রে? (What did he say?)
older boy: বললো ভালো দিন। (He said it's a good day.)

Meanwhile their frisbee game had stopped, so I motioned to the older boy to throw me the frisbee. I threw it to the younger boy, and the conversation continued while the frisbee went round in a triangle.

younger boy: Are you Englishman?
me: No. I'm from Calcutta.
younger boy: তাহলে তুমি ইংলিশ জানো কি করে? (Then how do you know English?)
me: তুই কি করে ইংলিশ জানিস? (How do you know English?)
younger boy: আমরা স্কুলে শিখি। (We learn in school.)
me: তাহলে? (There you go then.)

After a while the younger boy's mother called him, and he had to go. A third boy, about the same age, appeared in his place, eating nuts from a paper bag.

me (to older boy): তোর বন্ধু কোথায় গেলো? (Where did your friend go?)
third boy: আমিও ওর বন্ধু! (I'm also his friend!)
me: খেলবি? (Want to play?)
third boy: খাচ্ছি তো! (I'm eating!)

So he snacked on nuts while the two of us played on. Eventually lunchtime rolled around, and I said I have go. The older boy said, আমার খরগোশ দেখবে? (Do you want to see my rabbit?) I said sure, and he brought out his rabbit for me to admire.

I just had to get a photo, as a reminder of this odd – and oddly pleasant – afternoon.